Adding a new dog to your family is an exciting event! There’s nothing better than the lifelong bond you're about to form with your new furry companion.
As the days get closer to the big day, it’s important to prepare. But remember--adding a dog to your household is a big decision.
If you’re here, I know that you’re already taking steps to get things set before getting your new dog. This new dog checklist is a no-frills rundown of what you need to get, do, and plan before Fido comes to join the fam.
We’ve broken this new dog checklist down into five essential categories:
This dog adoption checklist is targeted for families adopting or rescuing adult dogs. If your going the puppy route, head on over to our Puppy Starter Kit. There’s definitely a fair amount of overlap, but there are a few key differences.
With this list, you and your home will be totally ready for the newest member of your pack. Let’s go!
Having the right gear ready is essential before you bring your new dog home. Getting the things you need ahead of time allows you to prepare the environment and support a smoother transition for Fido.
Dogs thrive on routine and predictability. For this reason, you don’t want to be switching up a bunch of things during their first few weeks at home as you gather what you need. Get the things ahead of time and have them ready to go.
Here’s a rundown of what you’ll need:
Want all of this info in this article AND SO MUCH MORE in one place? The Monster K9 Guide to Adult Dogs is the perfect reference on everything from choosing the right food to first aid, grooming basics to exercise. And it includes a step-by-step guide to training. Go check it out!
Once you’ve gathered up the gear and supplies, you’ll want to get everything set up. Think about where your dog’s crate should go, feeding supplies and things for walks.
Having things in their expected place will make the transition easier on your new dog when they join your family. They’ll get a sense of expected behavior and routine if things are ready to go from day one.
On that note, you’ll want to have a solid transition and training plan in place before bringing your dog home too. I’ve said a few times already how important consistency and predictability will be to a smooth transition.
In the first few weeks with your dog, try to stick to a strict schedule. This will help your dog feel more comfortable and create a trusted bond with you. This means going to bed at the same time, waking up at the same time, regular exercise/daily outings and predictable meal times.
Because we don’t usually know much about our adopted dog’s past, we don’t know how inconsistent or unreliable their previous home was. The transition will be smoother on you and your new dog if they have a sense that everything they need will be coming at predictable times each day.
What’s more, make sure you have a good understanding of dog training before your dog comes home, too. You want to keep things consistent and positive from day one. To get you started, see our articles about troubleshooting common behavior issues, and tips for training older dogs. Beyond that, seek our training classes at your local pet store.
Last on your new dog checklist is to prepare yourself with the proper research and a strong sense of commitment. Too often people adopt dogs with good intentions but end up re-surrendering the dog because they didn’t know what they were getting themselves into.
We adopted our husky when she was 9 months old and she already had 3 homes before us! Huskies are beautiful but they are NOT for novice dog owners.
My point here is that it’s essential to learn as much about the breed you plan to adopt as possible so that you can make sure you are prepared to meet their needs. If you are adopting a mixed breed, you can still learn a lot based on their size and the likely mixes in their lineage.
As for commitment? When you bring a new dog into your life, you need to be ready to meet their needs for their entire life. Your dog is now a priority in your life, even as demands change for you. Make sure mentally and physically you are ready to give them the love, attention, exercise, and health care they will need now and as they age.
And most importantly--get ready for a lifetime of love and a wild ride. Your new dog is so lucky to have you!
Let us be a part of your journey! There are tons of great articles and resources in the Monster K9 blog. Welcome to the dog life
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